Lockdown, daylight saving time, and impact on health

Monash University

As some Australian states and territories change over to daylight saving time in October, experts warn of the health and socioeconomic consequences of disrupting our body clocks (circadian rhythm).

In the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic, one or more of these disruptors can be present. As some Australians remain in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a greater risk of having disrupted circadian rhythms, which is linked to poor mood, sleep and general health.

The changeover to daylight saving time will add to this disruption.The health and societal effects of disruption of our circadian rhythms can cause a huge socio-economic cost to Australia. According to the 2019 report “Bedtime Reading: Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness”, 40 per cent of Australians get insufficient sleep. The report estimated the direct financial cost of inadequate sleep by Australians to be $26.2 billion annually.

In March, two Monash experts put a proposal to Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt, seeking to address the health and socioeconomic consequences of ‘body clock’ disruption to Australia’s public health.

Monash University experts are available to discuss the various effects daylight saving has on our health.

Professor Paul Zimmet AO, Professor of Diabetes at Monash University

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